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Natural stone in facade finishing

The facade is finished with granite.

Facing the facade with natural stone is a finish for the ages. Natural stone does not burn, rust, decay, age, or deteriorate at all. It is truly an eternal material. For exterior finishing, we recommend using natural stone of hard rock species with low porosity (granite, slate, quartzite). Such facades are the most durable, albeit expensive, but the high price of the material justifies its excellent performance qualities. It is best if it is a combined facade, for example, stone and facade paint (or plaster), stone and wood. You need to have some understanding of the physical and mechanical properties of natural stones to choose the right rock for specific tasks.

For example, when cladding a building, it is necessary to consider the high resistance of the stone to low temperatures - frost resistance. For cladding stairs, a stone resistant to wear, mechanical impacts, and shocks should be selected. High-strength natural stones are the most wear-resistant, they begin to deteriorate no earlier than 500 years (slate, granite, quartzite), medium-strength stones - after 50-75 years (dolomite, limestone, travertine). To increase the resistance of low-strength stone to negative external influences, special hydrophobic agents are used. After such treatment, the stone can be used even in places with harsh weather conditions. With increasing porosity of the stone, its strength and wear resistance decrease. With high water absorption and low porosity in the material, cracks form, and it begins to deteriorate.

During quarrying and processing, stones undergo mechanical processing, cutting, grinding, milling, and are brought to the market as follows:

  • Raw. This type of stone is practically not processed, preserving its natural appearance.

  • Bush-hammered. The surface on which point holes are created, as if from impacts. The surface is treated with a grinder and special attachments.

  • Polished. It has a smoother texture, but traces of mechanical processing are intentionally retained.

  • Sawn. The stone retains its natural roughness. Flames are often used in the processing.

  • Honed - a matte surface created by fine abrasive processing.

  • Polished - stone processed until it has a mirror shine.

Natural stone for facade finishing is cut into tiles of various formats, for example, 50x160, 80x160, 300x600, 350x750 with a thickness of 20-30 mm. However, each supplier strives to meet the customer's needs and offers large-format slabs or tiles to your dimensions, depending on the goals and capabilities of the consumer. There are more than 8,000 types of stones, but not all of them are in demand. Let's consider the most popular types of natural stone for building facade finishing.

1. Wild stone

Wild stone in the finishing of a combined facade of a building

Wild stone is a natural sedimentary rock that forms over millennia under the influence of natural environmental factors. Companies engaged in the extraction and processing of stone break large stone pieces into smaller ones in their production workshops, from which stone slabs are made. The resulting fragments come in various sawn formats or have irregular edges and a rough, uneven surface; they exhibit a rich variety of colors, allowing for the creation of the most unusual compositions in the finishing of building facades. Here, you won't find two absolutely identical pieces.

Advantages of the material:

  • Wide range of applications.

  • Uniqueness of the material's texture.

  • Highest protective abilities.

  • Durability and strength. Stone is not susceptible to natural decay.

  • Frost resistance. The material does not react to sudden temperature changes.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of the material:

  • Significant weight of products.

  • High cost.

  • Installation. Working with stone requires a certain level of experience, skill, and qualified installers.

2. Dagestani stone

Types of Dagestan Stone

Dagestan stone is a generic term for several naturally occurring sedimentary rocks extracted from quarries in Dagestan: shellstone, dolomite, sandstone, and limestone.

Shellstone is characterized by its porous structure with yellowish hues. It consists of compressed marine shells, and when the stone is broken, whole shells can be clearly seen. It is rich in minerals, calcium, and iodine. Shellstone is ideal for both exterior façade work and interior decoration.

Dolomite stands out for its attractive patterns and a variety of color options. It is known for its greater strength and fire resistance and visually resembles limestone. Dolomite is suitable for exterior work and paving.

Sandstone is composed of fine sand and can be easily polished while retaining its uneven texture.

Limestone is made up of compressed shells, and its color can vary from rich red to pure white. It is cost-effective and maintains a comfortable temperature indoors, regardless of external weather conditions.

Depending on the quarry location, Dagestan stone comes in various types, including Gelimbata stone, Akushin stone, Mekegin stone, Derben stone, Rukel stone, Chirin stone, Frig stone, Kayakent stone, and others.

Dagestan stone, as a finishing material, has its pros and cons. It is essential to understand the characteristics of each type of stone to make an informed choice.

For example, suppliers of Dagestan sandstone emphasize that it differs from sandstones extracted in other regions of Russia and the CIS in terms of its natural beauty, quality, strength, and the lowest market price. Dagestan shellstone has higher hygroscopicity, strength, and durability compared to regular sandstone, as reported by stone suppliers.

Advantages of the material:

  • Excellent performance properties.

  • Durability and high strength.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of the material:

  • Requires careful maintenance. Specific rules must be followed to maintain its original appearance, such as avoiding abrasive substances, acidic products, hot water, baking soda, or rubbing alcohol.

  • Complex installation. Following specific recommendations during installation is crucial.

  • Immediate repair is necessary when cracks appear (cleaning and puttying). Otherwise, the stone's surface will gradually deteriorate.

3. Sandstone

Shades and Types of Sandstone

The color of sandstone ranges from light beige to light brown, with various shades of gray and sometimes a hint of light pink. This stone possesses an interesting texture and is the most affordable and widely used in terms of cost.

Advantages of the material:

  • Low cost.

  • Lightweight.

  • Suitable for crafting ornate decorations.

  • Quick to process.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of the material:

  • Not suitable for horizontal surfaces.

  • Tends to become damp and darken over time.

4. Limestone

Facade cladding with limestone

Limestone is a rich and structurally unique stone. Its wide range of colors and material texture give it an expensive appearance. Clay impurities impart a noble brown hue to the natural material. If limestone contains a high proportion of fine-grained sand, the mineral will be colored in a warm terracotta shade. Greenish or delicate pink hues are achieved through impurities of colored metal salts.

Thanks to its organic and pure composition, limestone serves as an excellent antiseptic. Limestone finishes are virtually free from mold growth. The stone is also considered highly malleable, allowing for the creation of any desired shape for limestone products.

Advantages of the material:

  • High material quality. Strength and reliability.

  • High-quality production of intricate architectural works.

  • Expensive appearance.

  • Low load on walls and building foundations.

  • Eco-friendliness.

Disadvantages of the material:

  • Not suitable for horizontal surfaces.

5. Dolomite

Natural Dolomite Stone in Facade Finishing

Dolomite is a common name for "rock." The color range of the stone is not extensive. The mineral can be pale yellow, beige, white, or gray in shade. It is widely used for finishing the basement levels and buildings because it belongs to the hard types of natural stone. The mineral is regularly used both in the exterior cladding of buildings and for interior decoration of spaces. Advantages of the material:

  • High strength and durability.

  • Resistant to sharp temperature fluctuations. Frost-resistant.

  • Resistant to atmospheric influences and ultraviolet rays.

  • Longevity.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of the material:

  • High cost.

6. Travertine

Travertine Cladding

Travertine is a soft stone known for its decorative qualities and a rich variety of colors. Each stone tile has unique shades, making it aesthetically appealing. It is durable enough to withstand mechanical damage yet soft enough for easy processing. It is resistant to weather conditions and negative temperatures, making it suitable for both exterior and interior finishes, such as floor covering. It also has excellent wear resistance.

Advantages of this material:

  • Affordable cost and attractive appearance.

  • High sound and thermal insulation properties.

  • Rapid moisture absorption.

  • Easy to process.

  • Lower facade load compared to marble and granite.

  • Temperature resistance and frost resistance.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of this material:

  • Its porous structure makes it less durable and may require maintenance expenses (cavern cleaning).

  • Possible color changes when exposed to coloring substances.

7. Marble

Marble in Building Facade Finishing

The word "marble" comes from the Greek word meaning "shiny" or "white." The texture of the stone appears glossy and radiant. Buildings clad in marble exude luxury and solidity. Marble boasts a diverse range of colors.

Naturally, marble is a crystalline-granular mineral formed through the metamorphism of carbonate rocks (limestones or dolomites) under high pressure and temperature. It consists of calcium carbonate and impurities of other metals; the more impurities, the denser the rock. The concentration of other components affects the stone's coloration. However, in terms of hardness, marble is less durable than granite.

When choosing marble, it's important to consider the aggressiveness of the environment. Fine-grained varieties are considered the most durable. Light-colored varieties are more resistant to ultraviolet radiation. White or colored marble is recommended for indoor use, as such types of stone are considered very "temperamental" and unable to withstand abrupt temperature changes and weather variations. As a result, the stone starts to deform on the surface, and over time, its structure deteriorates completely.

It is recommended to clad facades with gray or dark-colored marble. Such marble is believed to be resistant to almost any kind of exposure.

Advantages of the material:

  • Elegance, luxurious appearance.

  • Wide range of applications (facades, stairs, fireplaces, sculptures, decor, etc.).

  • Low water absorption coefficient.

  • Virtually unaffected by temporal changes. Can maintain its original appearance for 150 years or more.

  • Frost-resistant.

  • High mechanical strength. Capable of withstanding high static and dynamic loads.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of the material:

  • High cost.

  • Requires proper installation techniques.

  • Demands specific maintenance and care.

  • Vulnerable to acidic substances. When in contact with hydrochloric acid, the stone dissolves completely.

8. Granite

Modern Granite House

Granite is solidified volcanic lava, composed of feldspar, quartz, and colored minerals. Its solidity, ability to refract light, high waterproofing, along with resistance to salts and climatic changes, make it an ideal material for architectural solutions: paving, cladding stone facades, entrance groups, fountains, as well as interior design (wall finishes, kitchen countertops, bathroom surfaces, window sills). It features an original grainy pattern, and its color palette varies with rich and dark shades, but you won't find pure white granite. Granite is stronger than marble.

Advantages of the material:

  • High strength and durability.

  • Excellent operational properties. Its service life is much longer than that of other natural stones.

  • Resistant to chemical reactions, fungi, or mold.

  • Resistance to mechanical impacts. It is virtually immune to damage.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of the material:

  • High cost.

  • Significant weight. This stone is one of the heaviest finishing materials.

9. Tuff (tuff stone)

Stone Fence

Butterstone is a type of rock obtained through blasting operations. It has an irregular rounded shape with pronounced relief and jagged edges. Because of its varying shapes and sizes, butterstones are laid out in a manner resembling mosaic, creating an interesting masonry with unique compositions.

Butterstone is used in folk and private economy, architecture, construction, and landscape decorative design: building foundations, engineering and hydraulic structures (retaining walls and various enclosing structures in unheated buildings, canals, wells), low-height fences, road and sidewalk paving, finishing building facades and fences, decorative pools, fountains, framing flowerbeds, lawns, and more. Butterstone has its pros and cons, which should be considered when choosing it for specific construction projects.

Pros of butterstone:

  • Strength: Butterstone is highly durable and resistant to mechanical loads, making it an ideal material for building foundations, walls, and other structures subjected to heavy loads.

  • Fire resistance: Butterstone performs well in the face of fire, making it suitable for constructing stoves, fireplaces, and other fire-resistant structures.

  • Sound insulation: This material has good sound insulation properties, which can be useful for constructing walls in multi-apartment buildings or commercial spaces.

  • Aesthetics: Butterstone typically has a pleasing appearance and texture, making it popular for building cladding. It is available in various shades and finishes, allowing for diverse design solutions.

Cons of butterstone:

  • Weight: Butterstone is a very heavy material, which can complicate its installation and transportation. This requires the use of special equipment and additional logistics costs. Susceptibility to moisture: If butterstone is not properly installed and waterproofed, it can absorb moisture and be susceptible to the destructive effects of freezing temperatures. This can lead to the formation of cracks and damage to the structure.

  • Complexity of processing: Unlike lightweight materials such as wood or metal, butterstone is difficult to work with and shape. This can make it challenging to create intricate architectural elements.

  • Cost: Butterstone can be an expensive material, especially when it comes to high-quality grades or unique finishes. This can increase the overall cost of construction. It is important to choose butterstone based on the specific requirements of the project, budget, and climatic conditions.

With proper use and maintenance, butterstone can serve for a long time and provide a beautiful and durable result in construction and design.

10. Shale

Finishing a building with slate

Slate is a natural material widely used for cladding building facades. It has a range of pros and cons that should be considered when choosing this material for your project. Let's take a closer look at its characteristics:

Pros of slate stone:

Natural Beauty: Slate has a unique texture and color palette that make the building facade attractive and elegant. It creates a natural and organic look.

Durability: Slate is a strong and long-lasting material. It can withstand extreme weather conditions, including humidity and freezing temperatures, without significant degradation.

Resistance to Wear: Slate stone is not prone to scratches or wear, making it an excellent choice for facades exposed to mechanical impacts.

Environmentally Friendly: Slate is a natural material that does not contain harmful chemicals. It is safe for health and the environment.

Low Maintenance: After installing slate stone on the building facade, minimal maintenance is required. It does not need painting or regular replacement.

Variety of Styles: Slate is available in various shapes and sizes, allowing for diverse design solutions for building facades.

Cons of slate stone:

Cost: Slate can be more expensive than other facade cladding materials such as brick or siding. Its high price can be a budget-limiting factor for the project.

Requires Professional Installation: Installing slate requires experience and skills, as it is a complex process. Improper installation can lead to future problems.

Weight: Slate is relatively heavy, which may require additional structural reinforcements to support its weight on the building facade.

Porosity: Some types of slate can be porous and absorb water, which can lead to staining or fading over time.

Limited Colors: The choice of slate colors is limited by the natural characteristics of the material, making it challenging to find a specific shade that matches the project's design.

When choosing slate stone for cladding the building facade, it's essential to consider all these factors and consult with professionals to determine whether this material is suitable for your specific project.

11. Basalt

Basalt stone is a natural volcanic rock that is often used in building facade cladding. It has a number of advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing this material for a facade.

Pros of using basalt stone in building facade cladding:

  1. Durability: Basalt stone is a highly durable material, making it ideal for use on building facades. It is resistant to mechanical impacts, including impacts, chipping, and scratching.

  2. Environmental Resilience: Basalt is resistant to atmospheric conditions, including rain, snow, frost, and sunlight. This allows it to maintain its original appearance for a long time.

  3. Aesthetics: Basalt stone possesses natural beauty and texture that give the building facade an elegant and attractive appearance. It is available in various colors and shades, allowing you to choose a suitable palette for the design.

  4. Fire Resistance: Basalt is a non-combustible material, making it safe for use on building facades.

  5. Environmental Sustainability: Basalt stone is a natural material that does not pollute the environment. It can also be recycled, reducing its environmental footprint.

Cons of using basalt stone in building facade cladding:

  1. High Cost: Basalt stone is considered one of the expensive materials for facade cladding. Its extraction, processing, and installation require specialized skills and equipment, which increases the project cost.

  2. Weight: Basalt stone is a heavy material, which may necessitate reinforced foundations and structures to support it.

  3. Stain Susceptibility: Some types of basalt can be susceptible to water stains, especially if not properly treated with hydrophobic agents.

  4. Installation Complexity: Installing basalt stone requires experience and skill. It can be challenging to work with and may require additional processing on-site.

Overall, basalt stone is a high-quality and durable material for building facade cladding, adding attractiveness and elegance to any project. However, its high cost and installation complexity may make it inaccessible for some construction projects.

12. Quartzite

Finishing a House with Quartzite

Quartzite is a natural stone that is often used in building facade finishes due to its unique properties and attractive appearance. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of using quartzite in building facade finishes:

Pros of using quartzite in building facade finishes:

  1. Durability: Quartzite is a highly durable stone, making it a long-lasting and reliable material for building facades. It can withstand external factors such as weather, ultraviolet radiation, and mechanical impacts.

  2. Wear Resistance: Quartzite has excellent wear resistance, maintaining its initial appearance for a long time. This makes it an ideal choice for building facades that need to retain their aesthetic appeal over many years.

  3. Variety of Colors and Textures: Quartzite is available in a variety of colors and textures, allowing designers and architects to create unique and visually appealing solutions. Quartzite shades can range from light gray to dark brown, enabling material selection to meet specific design needs.

  4. Weather Resistance: Quartzite is resistant to moisture, freezing, and high temperatures. This allows it to be used in various climatic conditions without the risk of deformation or damage.

  5. Eco-Friendly: Quartzite is a natural material that does not contain harmful chemicals or emit harmful fumes. This makes it an environmentally friendly choice for building facades.

Cons of using quartzite in building facade finishes:

  1. High Cost: Quartzite is considered an expensive material, which can increase the overall cost of a facade finishing project.

  2. Requires Professional Installation: Due to its hardness and weight, quartzite requires experienced professionals for proper installation. This can increase labor costs.

  3. Care and Maintenance: Quartzite surfaces require regular care, including cleaning and sealing, to maintain their appearance and protect them from stains and moisture.

  4. Potential Color Changes: Some types of quartzite may undergo color changes over time due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

In summary, quartzite is an attractive material for building facade finishes due to its strength, durability, and design versatility. However, its high cost and the need for professional installation may be drawbacks for some projects. It is important to consider all the pros and cons before deciding to use it in a specific construction project.

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